Monday, April 11, 2011

When to Borrow and When to Buy

After writing my post yesterday I went to Gutenberg press to see if I could find some of the old Alcott books that I'd enjoyed for their old fashioned charm. Looking over some of her non-Little Women novels, I remembered how often I used to check those books out of the library. I distinctly remember the green cover of "Jack and Jill", a lovely novel coined from the nursery rhyme. I must have read that books at least six times (and I'm sure my library record shows me having checked it out even more times that that!).

Which leads to my thoughtful question for today - when should you buy a book, and when should you borrow one? Mystery novels have been in fashion since Agatha Christie (and even before), but after you read those once, the fun of it is gone as you've already learned who the culprit is.

Sometimes when I've done research papers I've borrowed books that are scholarly articles and only used one of the articles in my paper, but wanted to read the rest. Should you buy books like that? Is there a use for them once you've read them? My father has a whole shelf full of highlighted books that he's read. In fact, I think I can safely say that every room in our house has a shelf full of books. In my dorm room, I have a desk drawer filled with the books I've brought with me from home.

Of course, this entire thought will be obsolete in a few years, as the Kindle and other e-readers take over the world. I've always said that I'd miss the actual action of turning pages, but part of me no longer feels that way as I've been using online versions of textbooks and checking project Gutenberg for some of my favorite old novels. My only question - can you read a Kindle (Ipad, etc) before falling asleep and safely drop it from your bed when your eyes do close? can you read a kindle while floating at the side of a swimming pool? Until they engineer that, I think books are safe.

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